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Over the moon l Worship


Last updated 7/17/2019 at Noon

I’ll never forget that night.

We had been invited over to the neighbor’s house because they had a bigger TV.

My brother, sister and parents all sprawled in their living room watching a gritty grey soup of pixels in black and white.

It was hours past our bedtime when the words finally came: “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

I was 12 years old.

For a few hours, the world seemed to hold its breath.

We turned our attention from war, violence, crime, political assassination, racism and pollution. We shared the knowledge that this night would mark a turning point for the Earth.

If I slept that night, I don’t remember it. My imagination had been stirred in a way that had not happened before. It seemed to me that space flight would unite the world and make us all more hopeful.

Things didn’t turn out that way of course.

It wasn’t long before we were all back to the Cold War, social injustice, government corruption, a drug epidemic and the burning neighborhoods in Chicago and the Mekong Delta. The Partridge Family replaced Apollo and NASA on the screen.

Fifty years ago, we landed on the moon. I use the word, “we” intentionally because I still think of it as a shared accomplishment, a collective endeavor and a national movement. We had done something important. We were in it together.

That spirit of connection and community seems lost these days. It’s very difficult to name anything that we don’t fight about. Instead of saying “we,” public discourse is now oriented toward “us” and “them.”

It’s more polarized and angry and more willing to hold others in contempt.

Do you remember the old nursery rhyme, “Hey diddle, diddle, the cat and the fiddle, and the cow jumped over the moon”? It’s an expression of joy, elation and delight.

To be “over the moon” is to be filled with love, promise and imagination.

I ought to remember that each time I look up and see the moon, I’m sharing a planet with billions of others who also see it.

Whatever our differences and whatever our loyalties, the essential burden for us all is in mutual respect, compassion, stewardship and reverence.

I wonder what Jesus thought as he looked into the night sky so long ago.

Did the view inspire, stir his imagination, and make him more aware of the experience of a shared humanity?

I like to think the moon was shining over his shoulder when Jesus said, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

I’d like to think that 50 years from now, there will still be those who remain committed to praying, working, building and waiting for a world that is “over the moon.”


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